Opinion: Ethnic-Minority and Faith Groups Must Oppose "Honor Killing"

July 6, 2004

Source: The Guardian


On July 6, 2004 The Guardian ran an opinion piece by Fareena Alam, managing editor of the Muslim magazine Q-News, in which she argued that "honour crimes" are not a "Muslim problem" and should not be labeled as such. She writes, "The recent decision by Scotland Yard to reassess at least 13 cases of suspected 'honour killings' should be welcomed as an attempt to understand the nature of this crisis. But rather than try to deepen understanding, some pundits have used the move as another opportunity to point their fingers at 'backward' cultures and, in particular, Islam...Honour killings are not a Muslim problem. Last year, Anita Gindha, 22, was heavily pregnant when strangled before her 19-month-old son, allegedly for renouncing Sikhism and marrying her boyfriend in London after refusing an arranged marriage. Just weeks ago, Stuart Horgan, 39, shot dead his ex-girlfriend and her sister at a family barbecue in Oxfordshire after being kicked out for threatening behaviour. Honour crimes have no relation to religiosity. Why is it then that such acts - along with practices like female genital mutilation continue to be linked exclusively with Muslims? It becomes increasingly difficult to tackle domestic violence in an environment of blame that borders on Islamophobia...Often, the police turn a blind eye for fear of being accused of racism and Islamophobia. And such accusations have been made. But instead of hiding behind platitudes, ethnic-minority and faith groups need help in creating communities where people genuinely believe there is no honour in honour killing."